Photo: Jim Bourg / Reuters
Scientists at the University of California San Francisco found a new way to treat malignant tumors that are not amenable to conventional therapy. About it reported in a press release on MedicalXpress.
Approximately 50 percent of cancer cases are caused due to disturbances in signal pathways that control cell growth. One of these pathways is the MAPK/ERK, which plays an important role in the growth of malignant tumors. It is accomplished through a complex cascade of interacting proteins. The launch of the cascade occurs when protein receptors on the outside of the cell binds the signal connection. As a result, the inner surface of the cell membrane activates the RAS protein, which sends a signal to the RAF protein, and further MEK and MAPK. In the end activated a range of programmes aimed at the growth and reproduction of cells.
NF1 regulatory proteins retain the activity of MAPK/ERK within the healthy range. However, mutations occurring in genes that encode components of a signaling pathway that can lead to intense cell growth and tumor development. Many attempts to develop drugs targeting MAPK/ERK, failed due to the fact that in malignant tissues, there are alternate signaling pathways, and themselves almost defective proteins do not interact with drugs.
According to one hypothesis, mutations make the components too sensitive to chemical signals. To test it, the scientists used an experimental compound RMC-4550, which inhibits the activity of protein SHP2. It is shown that SHP2 leads to the activation of the receptor protein molecules of RAS. The results of the testing of the drug on cultures of cancer cells, in which there were mutations in the genes NF1 and other important components, demonstrated that tumors stopped their growth.
Video, photo All from Russia.